We haven’t spent a lot of time on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) here at the Spring Metrics blog; however SEO can be an incredibly important component of your inbound marketing program – that is if you don’t take shortcuts.
Some companies without the in house expertise may need to engage with an SEO firm to help improve their ranking for a few relevant keywords. Is this you?
If you need to bring in outside talent, PLEASE pay attention to the terms and parameters of the engagement. Why? If the SEO chooses to take the easy way out by using “black hat” methods of link building, you may reap some additional traffic in the short run, but you risk incurring substantial damage to your reputation.
For example, consider the case of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation (as reported by Josh Davis). According to the story, DBCC engaged an SEO firm that employed a “link buying” strategy instead of working hard to find legitimate ways to gets links. This is a HUGE no-no with Google and a quick way to get slapped with a penalty (no more ranking for your top search keywords). But the Google penalty is only the obvious part of the problem.
Perhaps the bigger problem is the damage to your reputation. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has written a great post on the topic, including how both JC Penny and Overstock shot themselves in the foot last year by engaging in this shady practice. And pleading ignorance of what the SEO firm was doing on your behalf isn’t going to do anything to repair the damage.
Be smart and make sure you know what is happening with the people who represent your business. You have worked too hard to earn a great reputation with your customers.
If you want to build links the right way, a great starting point is with the resources available at SEOmoz – Please check out their recent post SEO Isn’t Magic, So Stop Doing SEO Tricks.
photo credit: vaXzine